Welcome to the MSP Marketing Podcast with me, Paul Green. This is THE show if you want to grow your MSP. This week’s show includes:
00:00 Marketing & Business Growth AMA – your questions answered
08:22 A crazy idea to generate clients from LinkedIn TODAY
13:00 Secure your MSP’s future through differentiation
Thank you to Paul Katzoff, VP Sales & Managing Partner of UV Networks, for joining me to talk about the importance of differentiation and specialisation in the MSP marketplace.
Paul Katzoff is a self-described tech addict and loves to discover and test new tools, technology, and processes. Having accidentally discovered software sales fifteen years ago, Paul loves the technical side of the sale combined with the social aspect of providing a solution that results in a fit for both parties.
The best part of Paul’s job is working with the same clients year after year and developing long term friendships, trust, and respect. When Paul isn’t hard at work at UV Networks, he spends his free time with his wife and five kids watching surf videos and baseball.
Connect with Paul on LinkedIn:
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Fresh every Tuesday, for MSPs around the world, this is Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast.
Hello, my friend and welcome to another fantastic podcast. We have got so much coming up for you this week.
Hi, I’m Paul Katzoff, and this week we’re going to be talking about how as an MSP you can differentiate yourselves from others out there, win business and grow to the size that you deserve to be.
And on top of that interview with Paul later on, I’ve got a couple of crazy ideas for you. I’ve got something you can try on LinkedIn to win yourself new clients, and also an idea to throw towards your existing clients that may just generate you some new revenue.
Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast.
But let’s get started this week with an AMA or ask me anything. I put something in my MSP marketing Facebook group a few weeks ago, did a post saying, “What marketing or business growth questions have you got for me?” And I have three or four that I’m going to answer for you today.
So the first of these is from John Bye. Thank you John. And John asked, “Have you seen an impact from Google’s core update?” Now, my reply for this is I’m not really into hardcore SEO or search engine optimization, so I haven’t really heard a huge amount about this core update. I do read a lot of marketing stuff and people aren’t jumping up and down and shouting about it. I’m not an expert at a technical level, so we’ll have to kind of make an assumption that no, there isn’t a massive, massive impact from that. But generally, when there’s an update that impacts millions of businesses, there is a lot of buzz about it in just general marketing. So great question, John, but at the moment, no, it’s not something that us as average business owners that don’t run e-commerce sites, not something that we need to be aware of.
Next question from David, and David I’m going to inevitably pronounce your name wrong, David Varokrytonlane. I think that’s how I say your name. Please do email me if I’ve got that wrong. Now, David asks, “If I use Chat GPT,” and this is such a good topical question, “If I use Chat GPT to fix the spelling mistakes on my website and expand content, will future Google hate me?” This is such a great question because the current thinking on this, which kind of feels like it changes every hour, is if you curate and edit the content, then you should be fine. Because what you’re doing is you’re using Chat GPT to enhance content, but you’re not pulling the wool over Google’s eyes. Does that make sense? So it’s pulling the wool over Google’s eyes is the kind of behavior that’s always risky in the long term.
So I think the safe thing to do right now is to use Chat GPT to shape your content. Either to originate it so a human can polish it and make it better, or to use Chat GPT to polish your content, to change it, to reshape it, to add some packaging to it. And I think if you’ve got genuinely original content that humans have been involved in… And this isn’t an expert opinion, this is just my gut feel. We’re using Chat GPT a little bit with our own content, not the content we write for our members of the MSP Marketing Edge, but certainly for our own content, we’re using it just for that sort of 10% of just, can you phrase this in a different way? Can you expand on this? Can you compress that? And that’s the right way to use Chat GPT right now.
Another question from Paige Murray Galley page says, “Last week I pitched the idea to do a lunch and learn like the one suggested in your podcast.” And thank you for that Paige. “Now, the sales team disagreed. They didn’t think that business owners would find much value in a dark web analysis. “However,” Paige continues, “they felt there would be more of a draw to give away concert tickets or something to that effect. How can I explain the value to them or are they right about concert tickets being more of a draw?” And you know what, I had to sit and think about this one because actually, what if the sales team are right? Or what if I’m right?
Well, there’s only one way to find out, let’s do a test. Let’s do two events, not at the same time, but they’ve got different attractions. So one of them is offering that dark web kind of thing. So it’s more of a cybersecurity thing. The other one, you have a prize, be that concert tickets, technology, something that’s not necessarily about security, but it’s a more attractive prize. You literally do two different events and you see which of those events is better. But you’ve got to measure the success of the event on the quality of the prospect and any sales that result, not the number of people that attend the event. So I would rather do a lunch and learn with three people that result in one new client, than do a lunch and learn with 20 people, but results in no new clients. Does that make sense?
Okay. Another question here from David Avenir. “Paul, what are your thoughts on a formal referral program which incentivizes clients to refer to you? Have you come across MSPs doing this well?” And that is such a great question as well. We’ve had some really good questions for this AMA. Referrals are great to get, but your existing clients will sometimes refer people in the wrong way. They’ll say things like, “Here’s Daniel’s mobile number. Give him a call any Sunday evening if your home printer doesn’t work.” That’s exactly the opposite of the kind of referral that you want. So you’ve got to be careful with this. Now, the best book I’ve ever read on this subject, and I’ve mentioned it in the podcast before, it’s called Unstoppable Referrals by an author called Steve Gordon, and it explains why you don’t get many referrals. It’s that people fear their friends won’t get the positive experience that they get. Essentially, there’s an element of social risk involved.
If I refer you and my friend doesn’t get the great experience, the social risk on that comes back on me. So Steve Gordon suggests that instead of looking for direct referrals, you put together a referral kit such as a book. It’s why we give a book called Email Hijack to all of the members of our MSP Marketing Edge so they can use that for a referral kit. They can personalize it, print it, and use it as an incentive. So you ask your clients to tell their friends and contacts only that you have a free book available. And you might even print business cards on with the free book URL for them to give to their friends. I think the only other thing to consider with referrals is what kind of prospect education or qualification process you have in place.
So when you get a referral, do you have a standard process to take them through, for example, to show them why you don’t do break fix work? You’ve got to take control of the messaging. And this may actually mean telling them right from the first inquiry, “Hey, look, before we start talking, this is how we can work together. If this is not for you, then thank you very much for your interest, but we are not a good fit for each other.”
Okay, final question and then I will tell you how you can submit and ask me anything question. Mike Haywood has asked a great question, “How do I improve my marketing emails when I get zero interest or response to them?” Another good question, I do expect that most MSPs won’t actually get a response to emails because emails are kind of part of a strategy to build a relationship with prospects. People only buy when they’re ready to buy, and you have to be in front of them at that exact moment. So Michael, guess what I’m saying is don’t worry too much about lack of response. Instead, look at your deliverability, check your open rate percentage, you could check your click through percentage. However, do not obsess over these figures. Emails are not there to get a reaction today, they’re there to build a relationship with people who could go on to become clients of yours in the future.
So if you’ve got a marketing question, feel free to ask it in that marketing group. Just go to Facebook, look for groups and look for MSP Marketing Group. It’s free to join, but it is a vendor free zone. So please only join if you are indeed an MSP. You can also just email me and it is the real me at the end. As long as you’re not rude to me, I will definitely reply. My email address, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s this week’s clever idea.
Right, bear with me on this one because I have a couple of kind of crazy, slightly untested ideas that I want to just throw out to you to see if actually it grabs your attention, it makes you think, “I wonder if that would work for us.” The first idea is to generate some new clients, and the second idea is to sell more to your existing clients. And when I say they’re untested, the principles of them are sound, I just haven’t specifically tested these exact techniques yet. If you do use these and they work for you, please do drop me an email with the email address that I just gave to you.
So here’s the first one. You go onto LinkedIn, this is to win new clients. You go onto LinkedIn and you see which of your prospects are currently active. Because you know when someone’s active on LinkedIn, there’s that little green dot just over their profile photo. So you find 10 active connections and you drop all 10 of those a LinkedIn message and the message would say something along the lines of, “Hey Dave,” let’s say you’re doing it today. Let’s assume you’re listening to this podcast on Tuesday. So, “Hey Dave, crazy question for a Tuesday afternoon, but on a scale of one to 10 where 10 is highest, how much would you recommend your IT support company?” Let me go over that again. So, “Hey Dave, crazy question for a Tuesday afternoon, but on a scale of one to 10, where 10 is the highest, how much would you recommend your IT support company?”
So you message this to 10 people, 10 of your connections. Now, most of them are going to ignore you, and that’s okay. The ones that message you back, they’re obviously so happy with their MSP that they want to boast about it or they’re not happy and you’ve really touched a nerve. Most people just won’t respond, but the ones that do respond, as I say, they’re either showing off or actually they do want to have a vague conversation. With those people, the next trick is to engage them. Don’t go straight in for the, “Let’s meet.” Ask them a couple of questions, open questions, qualify them essentially. And then you kind of say to them, “Well, hey, look, do you want to meet for a coffee some point next week? We could explore your pain and just see if it’s worth meeting.”
Now, as I say, this is untested. This may not really turn into anything at all. If you did this every day, tried it for a week and ended up having a couple of coffees and one of those coffees actually turned into a sales meeting, that would be a result, I believe. It all depends on the quality of the person you’re reaching.
So that’s an idea to win new clients. Let me give you crazy idea numero two and this one is to generate more revenue from your existing clients. Here’s what you do, you ring three of your favorite clients later on today. Well, let’s say you call them on a Thursday or a Thursday afternoon or a Friday morning, and you say to them, “Hey, how’s it going? I’m just winding down for the weekend. How’s your week been?” And then you ask the killer question, this is an absolute killer question. “Is there anything that we could have done or that we could have helped you with this week to make your life easier?” “Is there anything that we could have helped you with this week to make your life easier?”
Now, many of them will just say no. They just want to get you off the phone, get back on with their work. But you never know what a great conversation starter that could be. Because for some people, it will trigger something at the back of their head that makes them think, “Actually, yeah, if only we’d had the ability to talk about this, or if only we could have talked to you about that or we had this problem. Is that something that you could help with?” It gets your existing clients talking. And engagement, both of these crazy ideas are all about engagement. People buy when they’re ready to buy, whether they are currently a prospect or currently a client. If we can get them engaged and if we can get them talking, we can try to figure out if today is that day that they are indeed ready to buy.
Paul’s blatant plug.
I feel like I’m full of good ideas today, and if you want even more of them, we have a ton of them on our YouTube channel. Couple of times a week, we are uploading new videos all about helping YouTube market and grow your MSP. And you can find all those videos at youtube.com/mspmarketing. Please do subscribe and also hit that little notification bell thing. This actually helps us to reach more MSPs because it tells YouTube what kind of content you are interested in, and so we can reach more great people like you. Youtube.com/mspmarketing.
The big interview.
Hi everyone, I’m Paul Katzoff. I am the VP of sales and managing partner at UVnetworks, and I focus on global sales and partnerships for our organization, which is really finding MSPs and helping them on their side simplify their process.
And we are all about helping MSPs here on this podcast. This is why I wanted to get you on and get info out of your head, Paul, about marketing advantages and differentiation in particular. Now, I know one of the big challenges that MSPs have in the marketplace is differentiating themselves from their competitors. Now, the true differentiation has nothing to do with your tech stack at all, primarily because the audience that you’re trying to reach, they don’t really understand what a tech stack is, and they don’t know the difference between Product A, Product B, Product Z, none of that matters. You work with lots of MSPs, you advise them on lots of different things, not just in your product, but in growing their business. How do you think the average MSP should tackle that problem of marketing differentiation?
That’s a long and deep question because marketing can be so many different things for different MSPs. Now, typical MSPs like you and I both know, are owned and ran by the owner, manager, director. So it’s pretty much a single person organization. Now, those MSPs need to focus on what their core attributes are, where their talents lie, and who they are as a person and as a marketing body. Because when you’re talking to clients, you need to present with them what you’re going to provide to them. You are going to be their expert going forward. So on your side, you need to understand who you are, how your clients see and view you as an MSP, and also focus on your strengths, focus on what you do well, and they will see that, that will ring true to them and they’ll jump into it. They’ll do it as well. They’ll see it and say, “Hey, this is what we have to have. This is our need. He fits it, let’s take him on. This is going to be the perfect MSP for our organization.”
But it strikes me that sometimes half the problem is the fact that you are trying to fix, or as an MSP owner, you’re trying to fix something that you don’t understand. I’m a non-tech person, so when I have tech challenges, I can’t really step back and look at it in a way and say, “Right, what am I doing wrong here? What are the challenges?” I’m just get lost in the problem because it’s unfamiliar with me, and it’s almost a bit scary for me. And I think for MSP owners, it’s the other way around. A tech challenge is a known quantity. There’s a methodology for going about that. But a marketing challenge, that’s unknown and that’s scary. So do you think it’s quite hard for MSP owners to step back and look at their business sometimes?
It could be difficult. I think on their side, they need to focus on who they’re going to be or who they’re going to focus on as a customer, as a client. So as an MSP, if you’re going to focus regionally, you got to look regionally. If you’re going to focus nationally, you got to focus nationally. So if you’re a small MSP and you want to focus regionally, you want to focus on your city, your county, your local area and your state. And on your side, you need to go through and learn about all the different industries, potential clients on your side that need MSPs, your expertise, your functionality to come in and help their business. Now, you can’t spread yourself across the board and say, “Hey, we do everything.” Well, you could, but all of a sudden you’re going to have farms contacting you, you’re going to have ad agencies contact you, all these different people with MSP issues contact you. Are you ready to jump into their business and attack what their issues are and resolve those for each one of those industries?
So on your side, if you’re familiar with the IT space, or let’s say you’re familiar with retail, focus on retail first and say, “Hey, we’re a retail first MSP.” You’re going to have others come in and say, “Hey, you do retail, but we all would also like you to help us with our dentist’s office. Can you help us on the dental side?” You’ll build that business across the board and other industries. But start first with one industry that matters to you that you’re very familiar with, you know who the decision maker is, what they’re looking for, what their needs are, what their weaknesses are. Do they have cloud? Do they not have cloud? What’s their tech stack? On your side where their pain points are as an MSP or as an individual, and you can take your MSP out there and say, “Hey, these are your issues. I know who you are. I’ve dealt with you over my career. I know what you need. I’m here to solve that issue for you.”
And after you win one or two of those deals, you’re going to turn around and say, “Hey, who else in this space needs our help?” Maybe not competitors of yours, but your friends, your associates. Who else needs help in this retail space? I can step in and help them, you’ll get some referrals. Or maybe you go to a convention, a local retail convention. You go in there, you say, hi, you meet and greet, shake hands, give out your business card or QR code, whatever there is nowadays. And on your side, you’re able to meet others that have that same specific in needs that you can speak to. And you’ll build your client profile or portfolio slowly over time, 3, 4, 10. And then you’ll have others kind of come to you as well in different industries. Don’t worry about those yet, focus on one initially. And that will grow over time as you help those customers solve their issues and really become an expert on providing an MSP service for that one industry.
So what we’re really talking about here is building up momentum. And in fact, Paul, if you’ve ever read or listened to the book, Good to Greats by Jim Collins, which is a fantastic listen.
One of the things he talks about, one of the concepts throughout that book is the concept of the flywheel that everything the business does must be about getting as many of the right hands onto the flywheel and giving it a shove. Because the more you keep shoving it, the faster it goes and the faster it goes, which is just a really smart way of talking about momentum. Do you think MSPs or some MSPs make their lives deliberately hard by going off on a path and then zig-zaging and changing direction and going off to a different industry, almost perhaps because they’re, I’m not going to use the word desperate, but they’re so keen to win new revenue that they just go chasing absolutely anything that comes out of anywhere without having that disciplined focus on building up momentum down one path?
Well, first off, the Flywheel notion by Jim Collins is one of the most amazing notions in the past 15, 20 years, to have you as an organization, as an MSP focus on what you do great. We’ve heard about that forever. What do I do great? But in the Flywheel Concept, what he’s saying is there’s this momentum or circle that goes around in the circle. If you aren’t familiar with the Flywheel, check it out, it’s a small little book by Jim Collins. It’s available on Amazon for like $9 or $10, maybe $12.
But what he does in this monograph is he goes through and he says, “Okay, on your side, what you need to do is figure out what drives your business fully through the circle, which is capturing clients, potential clients, selling to those clients, having those clients purchase your product. And then also have that client stay on as a client and refer others to you or that full process for you as an MSP. To get them coming in around happy, not churning out, not complaining, but solving their issues, keeping them satisfied as a client, and then turning around at the end and…” The other part of the flywheel is finding more customers. How do you do that? Where do you go? Who are you as an MSP?
And this Flywheel notion, it’s one of the most difficult ideas as an MSP to kind of get through because like you said, it’s very easy to just shock and shoot the market. I mean, you have the ability nowadays to reach every industry, to do Facebook ads, do LinkedIn ads, Twitter ads. You can blast everyone you want and you can spend a whole bunch of money doing that if you do it that way. But the key here, and the key that Jim Collins was referring to is get to know what you do really well and do it over and over again.
Now, if you’re tight for cash, if you’re short on your war chest, it’s going to be difficult because you’re going to be tempted to go to the left field. You’re going to be tempted to go to right field. But what he’s saying is if you keep that flywheel going, the momentum will pick up, and in 5 years, 7 years, 10 years, when there’s a retail organization looking for an MSP, everyone in the market’s going to say, “Hey, use RJ’s. They’re the best MSP out there for retailers.”
You’ll become known as an expert in that space, and that’s where that full competitive advantage comes in. That’s where full profits are found. That’s where the whole market… As an individual, that’s where the success is bred or arrives from.
Yeah, completely agree with you Paul. I’m so glad you mentioned that Jim had an extra book. I didn’t know. It just goes to show you can… I try and read a business book every single week, and I didn’t know that Jim Collins had actually done a book called Turning the Flywheel: A Monograph to Accompany Good to Great, which I’ve just found on Amazon now. I know I shouldn’t really be looking up stuff on Amazon while a guest is speaking, but hey, I did it. So that one’s gone into my basket. Thank you very much for that one, Paul.
Let’s just finally talk about size of business. So I talk to loads of MSPs, I know you do the same and everyone looks to grow, but we’ve all got to start from a position somewhere. And sometimes I hear one man, two man, three man band MSPs almost look at the size of the competition that’s surrounding them and say, “Well, we’re never going to compete with those guys because they’ve got 50 people. They’ve been around for 20 years, they’ve got 50 people, they charge twice what we charge. We simply cannot compete with them and against them.” You could argue that sure, for a 500 user business, there’s no way you’re going to compete with an MSP that’s got 50 staff. But there aren’t that many 500 user businesses around. There tends to be a hell of a lot more 10 user, 20 user businesses, which let’s be honest, pretty much any MSP can look after. What are your thoughts on differentiation and how to differentiate your small MSP against your bigger rivals?
Well, first off, let’s start with the basic, which is the future. As an MSP, you have made the right choice to start an MSP or be running an MSP organization right now. You don’t need to be concerned about all the competitors out there, whether there’s a 50 person MSP to your left or a 10 man MSP to your right. Right now, as far as the future goes for MSPs, they’re looking at what 25% growth annual over the next decade. What’s happening is organizations have a need for managed service providers to come in and take over their IT work, their IT headaches, their whole systems that are complicated and really a mess. To be honest with you, they’re really a mess. And so MSPs are going to grow. So you’re in the right space as an MSP. For the 500 user shops or 500 employee shops, usually if they get to that size, they already have an IT department, they’re already set on that. They’ll use an MSP for here and there to kind of have a backup and expertise on hand if they need it.
But overall, your target market, your potential market is that small 10 person shop to a 100 person shop. That’s what’s going to need the MSP services come in and take over what… They can’t afford an IT guy or an experienced IT guy. Nowadays, just with the tech stack you have to manage, it’s a headache. So all of these organizations are saying, “Hey, we want to outsource this to an MSP.” This is where it’s coming from. And on your side, you’re in the right space.
Now, how do you differentiate yourselves from others? It can go many different ways, there’s a lot of different things that you can do to differentiate yourself, but overall, what you need to do is focus on, like I said earlier, an industry that you do very well, that you understand who they are. Maybe you have friends that are decision makers or business owners in that area, and you can step in and win one client and solve their headaches, solve their issues, and then go from there and build up your clientele from that side. And I assure you, it’s going to continue to build. This MSP phase is not a fad. You’re looking at a decade to two decades of growth and you’re in the right space at the right time if you’re looking at this right now.
Love it. Love it. Great message of positivity to end on there, Paul. Thank you very much. Just briefly tell us a little bit about you and your business. What do you guys do for MSPs and how can we get in touch with you?
Yeah, absolutely. So I’m with UVexplorer UVnetworks. We provide a network mapping system, a network management system for MSPs. So what we provide is for you to have our agent or our install on each of your clients’ networks. We can then provide you with that visual network map to the UVexplorer server that’s on-premise, on your location. So you can click through and find network issues, network management problems all throughout your client’s areas very quickly, very fast. We are a third the price of Off-Ex. You’re not going to be diving into your pocketbook for our tool. And we provide all that solutions for you wherever you are globally, in the US, we support you, and we provide you this great tool to use on your network management side.
And what’s the best way to get in touch with you, Paul?
Yep. You can reach out to us at email@example.com or find me on LinkedIn, Twitter, happy to help you or reach out to you and connect with you on any of those spaces or platforms.
Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast. This week’s recommended book.
My name is Jeff Felten from contentremedy.co. The book that I recommend you read next is Marketing Rebellion by Mark Schaefer. The reason that I really love this book is because I genuinely think that most people are tired of being sold to, they’re tired of being advertised to all the time. I mean, we see thousands of advertisements a day, and I truly believe that the most human companies are the ones that are winning in the marketplace or the ones that absolutely will win in the future. So Mark Schaefer’s book, Marketing Rebellion, is all about how to be more human in your copy, in your positioning, in your messaging, in everything. Really how to position yourself more as a human brand than some company or department. It’s just a really good take, a fresh take on how to position yourself a little bit differently in the market in the coming decade.
Coming up next week.
Hey, this is Grant Baldwin, founder of the Speaker Lab, and we’re going to be talking about how you can find and book paid speaking engagements. How you can use speaking to build and grow your business. And even if you were someone who’s like, “I hate the idea of speaking and it traumatizes me,” that’s all right, we’re going to talk through how you can make sure that you can minimize those nerves, those anxieties, those fears, and still use speaking to the best of your ability.
Wherever you listen to this podcast, please do subscribe both on audio platforms and especially on YouTube, subscribe and hit the little bell notification thing. Because on top of that interview next week we’re going to be talking about putting photos of you and your team, especially your team on your website. What are the dangers of doing this? What are the things, the fears you have that stop you putting photos of your team on your website? And let’s see if we can overcome them. We have a ton more content for you on YouTube at youtube.com/mspmarketing. Join me next Tuesday and have a very profitable week in your MSP.
Made in the UK for MSPs around the world. Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast.